Everything we view in the media exists as carefully constructed, but not always intentional, social commentary. Films and television series are endlessly edited and changed at the hands of executives in suits whose end goal is to make as much profit as possible off the product. Their job is make the video appeal to as many viewers as possible. By the very nature of the job they have to suck out the uniqueness and turn the heavy, vaguely sweet taste of pumpernickel bread into plain old generic Wonder bread. Often this metaphor is actually quite literal with main stream media being predominantly focused upon white males. The average lead of you big budget, blockbuster film or high profile network is almost always going to be a white male. They may throw in a female counterpart or an American-American best friend to so-called diversify the product, but in the end you’re viewing a product told from a particular social view that reinforces a white patriarchal power structure.
U.S. Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens does his job by a simple rule: shoot if it’s justified. Complete with his trademark stetson hat, the hero of FX’s crackerjack drama Justified is in every sense a modern day cowboy; a man who seemingly fears nothing and never winces when it comes to pull the trigger. It’s not so much that Raylan likes killing and shooting others, but rather he simply has no qualms with it. He loves his job and will do about anything to uphold the law, though not always through the traditional marshal methods. It’s because of this almost trigger happy attitude that Raylan is transferred from Miami back to his home state of Kentucky where he’s forced to encounter the various family members and hillbilly criminals he tried to get away from years ago. Upon returning home Raylan learns first hand that each character that makes up the colorful world of Harlan County, Kentucky seems to have their own moral code and ethic system that means to justify their actions.
In the 1980s a monumental movement took place within the realm of feminist studies when the idea of post-structuralist feminism was created. Post-structuralist feminism is based upon the principal that we as a society must look closer at the language order that teaches us to be what culture labels as “women.” It is only through viewing the cultural constructions that constitute women as different from men that beneficial change can be brought about to women. Unlike previous feminist theories, post-structuralism doesn’t believe that the difference between genders is biological, but rather that it is cultural. Society has created definitions for what is man and what is women, not our metaphysical bodies as the other feminist theories believe. This classifies post-structuralism as a form of non-essentialist feminism. They believe that everything that defines a women as a women is purely cultural. There is no essential femininity behind this social construction. Post-structuralists aim to look carefully at the relationship between a given gender identity and the patriarchal order that rules society. They want to analyze the ways through which sexuality and subjectivity are created concurrently.
Everyday we are surrounded by millions upon millions of signs. The amazing thing about these signs is our mind rarely ever consciously registers them, rather it just accepts them and automatically derives meaning. The study of semiotics is an attempt to look at these various signs in-depth. But before one can study a sign, one must look at what a sign is. A sign is made up of two parts, the signifier which is the image/object/sound itself and the signified is the concept it represents. Each sign has a two types of significations, which is the relationship between the signifier and the signified.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article first posted on May 25th 2011, right as the second season came to a close. I’m reposting it again now as the third season premieres tonight at 8:30pm on ABC after an almost eight month long hiatus. I attended the NYC Paley Center panel Bill Lawrence and crew held as part of their grassroots campaign and can safely say despite the time off the show contains to be one of the best comedies around. The first episode of the season is both hysterical and incredibly heartfelt, being a perfect example of what makes a Bill Lawrence show so great. If I get some free time in the next few days I’d love to do a piece on their unique marketing strategy, but for now I thought I’d repost my article on why I love Cougar Town and why you should be watching.
The following is a paper I wrote for my Gender Studies course in December. It’s a subject that is perhaps dated at this point as the flood of masculinity based comedies have all been canceled (with the exception of Last Man Standing which has moved away from said premise). Nonetheless I figured I’d post this essay regardless of the timing. Work It had not yet aired at the time of this paper so I focused primarily on just fall 2011 series, that being said I could’t resist using a photo from it.
Women rule the world, or at least that’s what television what’s you to think right now. Often times each year without trying the various major networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX) seem to create pilots, the first episode of a TV series, with similar themes and messages. Last year there was an abundant amount of shows based around the idea of couples in various states in their relationship and life (ABC’s Happy Endings, FOX’s Traffic Light, and NBC’s bluntly titled Perfect Couples). Sometimes the theme sticks more than others, but this year the theme ended up being more overtly political than usual. Just about every show this year revolves around the idea of modern gender relationships and exploring what is the core dynamic between the different sexes. While the idea of publicly addressing how gender is handled in today’s society is one that may be appealing, there is a subdivision within the theme that is perhaps a little disturbing and troubling to look at.
The last week of December I counted down to the new year by introducing a feature I refer to as the Remotely Interesting Retrospective. All week long I wrote about my First Tier and Second Tier series of the year, along with the Other Shows I watched and a collection of the Bits & Pieces I sampled. And while we’re now a week into 2012 I thought I’d post one extra part of the Retrospective. After writing about every 2011 show I watched in the year, I thought it might be fun to do a bonus article on the various shows I caught up on in 2011, despite them not having aired that year. With this last post I’ll have written about every single show/episode I watched in 2011. Hope you’ve enjoyed my 7,000 plus words on my 2011 viewing experience and thanks overall to everyone who read Remotely Interesting during its first year run. It’s been quite the success in my book and I look forward to doing this for as long as I can.
Today’s the last day of 2011 and all week long I’ve been looking back at my TV viewing for the year and writing my thoughts on every single episode I watched. To start things off we covered my Second Tier series aka my five “second favorite” shows of the year, then looked at Other Shows I watched, followed by all the various episodes I sampled in Bits & Pieces. To end 2011 I present to you my top five series of the year. Each of these series fully deserves the crown of “best show of the year”. Some might consider a five way tie a cop out, but I consider it a great year of television.
It’s the end of December which means its time to look back on the year an evaluate the various television shows that aired throughout 2011. Two days ago I posted my Second Tier series of the year and then yesterday I posted my Other Shows list which contains all the series I watched every episode of that aired in 2011 that didn’t make my top ten list. Today I’ll keep things brief with some quick thoughts on the shows I sampled throughout the year, but didn’t watch every episode of.
It’s the end of December which means its time to look back on the year an evaluate the various television shows that aired throughout 2011. Yesterday I posted my Second Tier series of the year, but rather than go ahead and post my First Tier series right away, I thought I’d list my thoughts on all the other shows I’ve been watching all year. These are the shows that I watched every single episode of that aired in 2011, but didn’t make my top ten list.